The confederacy was on the wrong side of history. There was a Civil War, the south lost. They fought for a cause that was to deny the humanity to millions of our American citizens. What has changed though, is that the city of New Orleans is not longer revering that cause as though it was the just cause and the right cause. We have spent the last 12 years rebuilding our city and as we look forward to our 300th anniversary, the people in the city started thinking about building the city back, not necessarily the way it was, but they way it could have been if we would have gotten it right the first time. And as we started thinking about our public spaces those Confederate monuments really stuck out as a, really, not a accurate recitation of who New Orleans had ever been. The white mayor of this predominantly black town says keeping these symbols of the Confederacy on a pedestal is out of step with today’s values. These monuments celebrate a fictional sanitized Confederacy. Ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, ignoring the terror that it actually stood for. And after the Civil War, these monuments were part of that terrorism, as much as burning a cross on someone’s lawn. They were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in the shadows about who was still in charge in this city. It’s about remembering the totality of New Orleans history and reflecting who we are as a people and having public spaces that reflect us all. I didn’t start the Civil War. I didn’t start the problems with race in
this country… We believe that diversity is a strength, it’s not a weakness. When you bring lots of different people together you form new things, like jazz. There are other places that might have a different opinion about that, but that was New Orleans’ feeling and to the extent that that’s
reflective of was what other cities may think, or instructive, then, you know, we hope that they learn from us both positively and negatively from this experience.